|11th United States Ambassador to the Holy See|
Assumed office |
December 22, 2017
|Preceded by||Ken Hackett|
Callista Louise Bisek|
March 4, 1966
Whitehall, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Newt Gingrich (m. 2000)|
|Education||Luther College, Iowa (BA)|
Callista Louise Gingrich (née Bisek; born March 4, 1966) is an American businesswoman, author, documentary film producer, and diplomat who serves as the United States Ambassador to the Holy See. She is married to former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. President Donald Trump nominated her to be the United States Ambassador to the Holy See in May 2017, and the United States Senate confirmed the nomination on October 16, 2017. On December 22, 2017, Gingrich presented her credentials to Pope Francis and officially assumed the duties of United States Ambassador to the Holy See. She is the 11th U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See since formal relations were established in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan.
Callista Louise Bisek, known as "Cally Lou" to her family, was born to Alphonse Emil Bisek and Bernita (Krause) Bisek, in Whitehall, Wisconsin. Her father worked in a packing plant and her mother was a secretary. She has Polish and Swiss ancestry. She graduated as valedictorian from Whitehall Memorial High School in 1984. A music student from childhood, Callista attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, majoring in music and becoming a member of Pi Kappa Lambda. She graduated cum laude in 1988. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Ave Maria School of Law in February 2018.
In 1988, just out of college, she accepted an internship in Washington, D.C., in the office of Republican Congressman Steve Gunderson. At the end of the internship she joined Gunderson's congressional staff where she worked until 1995. In 1995, she moved to the House Committee on Agriculture where she worked as chief clerk until 2007.
Since leaving the House Committee on Agriculture in 2007, Gingrich has served as president of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production company which she founded with her husband. They produce historical and public policy documentary films, publish books and newsletters, and make speeches, television, and radio appearances.
Together, they have hosted nine documentaries, including The First American, Divine Mercy: The Canonization of John Paul II, A City Upon A Hill, America at Risk, Nine Days that Changed the World, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, Rediscovering God in America, Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage, and We Have the Power. The films have sold several hundred thousand copies.
Gingrich has authored seven children's books featuring Ellis the Elephant, including Sweet Land of Liberty, about American exceptionalism, and Land of the Pilgrims' Pride, about colonial America. Both were on The New York Times Best Seller list of Children's Picture Books. Yankee Doodle Dandy, about the American Revolution, was released in 2013. From Sea to Shining Sea, about the expedition of Lewis and Clark and the early years of the United States, was released in October 2014. Christmas in America, about the history of Christmas in the United States, was released in October 2015. Hail to the Chief, about United States presidents, was released in October 2016. Remember the Ladies, about United States first ladies, was released in October 2017.
2012 Republican primaries
As part of her husband's bid to become the Republican nominee in the 2012 presidential election, Gingrich often appeared by his side at rallies. In early 2012, Gingrich began to take a more active role in the campaign, and undertook her first campaign speaking appearances without her husband. On February 10, she appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference, giving an introduction to her husband prior to his speech. In addition, she supported his campaign through speaking appearances at Republican women's groups, meetings of Gingrich supporters, and various rallies.
Gingrich is a long-time member of the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. and plays French horn with the City of Fairfax Band in Fairfax, Virginia. She serves as president of the Gingrich Foundation which, among other charitable contributions, established the Newt L. and Callista L. Gingrich Scholarship to benefit instrumental music majors at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Callista Bisek met Newt Gingrich in 1993 when he was House Minority Whip and she was working in the office of Congressman Steve Gunderson. Callista testified in 1999 as part of Gingrich's divorce proceedings that the couple began a six-year affair in 1993 while Newt was married to his second wife, Marianne. Newt divorced Marianne in December 1999, and on August 18, 2000, Callista and Newt were married in a private ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2002, Newt Gingrich asked the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta to annul his 19-year marriage to Marianne on the basis that she had been previously married. Callista, a lifelong Catholic, was instrumental in her husband's conversion to that faith in 2009. The Gingriches live in McLean, Virginia.
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- Mark Benjamin (November 24, 2011). "With Newt Back in the Spotlight, Callista Gingrich Follows". Time.com. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- Callista Louise Gingrich, Congressional Staffer – Salary Data at legistorm.com. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
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- NYTimes Best Sellers: Children's Picture Books , October 30, 2011
- NYTimes Best Sellers: Children's Picture Books , December 2, 2012
- Nikki Schwab (October 15, 2013). "Callista Gingrich's 'Ellis the Elephant' Turns 3". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
- Judy Kurtz (October 15, 2014). "Callista Gingrich: My kids' books aren't political". The Hill. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Kemberlee Kaye (December 23, 2015). "Callista Gingrich Chats With Us About Her New Book Christmas in America". Legal Insurrection.
- "Newt, Callista Gingrich on 'Treason', 'Hail to the Chief'". FoxNews.com. October 11, 2016.
- Jacob Airey (October 4, 2017). "Book Review: Remember The Ladies By Callista Gingrich". The Daily Wire.
- "Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich honor the legacy of President Ronald Reagan with Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny" (Press release). PRWEB. February 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
- Callista Gingrich makes her debut as a solo campaigner Atlanta Journal Constitution, February 15, 2012
- CPAC: Callista Gingrich makes rare speaking appearance CBS News, February 10, 2012
- Callista Gingrich talks up Newt at CPAC The Washington Post, February 11, 2012
- Callista Gingrich tests herself in public speaking role The Washington Post, February 14, 2012
- Newt Gingrich courts Tennessee voters Politico, February 27, 2012
- Callista Gingrich Rallies Newt's Supporters Patch.com, February 18, 2012
- At Everett rally, Newt Gingrich says his energy policies would push gas down to $2.50 a gallon The Herald (Everett, Washington), February 25, 2012
- Katherine Boyle (December 15, 2011). "Callista Gingrich brings attention to Basilica of the National Shrine choir". Washington Post. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
- "Directory of Endowed Scholarships: Music". Luther College. 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- Jones, Meg (March 11, 2012). "Callista Gingrich still has ties to Whitehall" Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (m.jsonline.com). Retrieved March 16, 2012.
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- Barron, James; David Rohde; Adam Nagourney (May 4, 2000). "PUBLIC LIVES". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- Associated Press (May 12, 2002). "Newt Gingrich Requests Annulment in Atlanta". The Free Lance-Star. p. D4. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Sullivan, Amy (August 24, 2009). "Why Newt Gingrich Converted to Catholicism". Time. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
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